We have all experienced some difficulties and/or challenges in our lives. Although these roadblocks can diminish our resolve they can also make us stronger.

Resilience is our ability to navigate, recover and adjust after experiencing setbacks. Not only can we manage these challenges, but also in time, we can learn from them and become stronger than before. Resilience is not a fixed-state. It is a skill set that can be developed with practice.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

Explore the information on this site to learn how you can become more resilient.

Resilience Is?

  • The capacity to constructively deal with adversity, rejection and pain.
  • A skill that can be learned, developed, exercised and strengthened with practice.
  • Based on an individual’s belief that pain and suffering are not permanent conditions.

Resilience Is Not:

  • You are not born with a certain amount of resilience.
  • Related to intelligence or talent.
  • The absence of emotion or the ability to ignore feelings.

There are different types of resilience (McGonigal, 2012) :

Physical Resilience refers to the body’s ability to withstand, recover and rebound from health stressors.

Mental Resilience is the brain’s ability to conquer diverse intellectual tasks and challenges.

Emotional Resilience is an individual’s ability to successfully adapt and recover from difficult times.

Social Resilience is the capacity for individuals to build positive social relationships and to tolerate feelings of loneliness and social isolation (Cacioppo, 2009).

Things to Watch Out For — “There are Three “P’s” that slow our growth and recovery.” (Sandberg & Grant, 2017)

Personalization: When we encounter a significant challenge or face a failure or loss in life, we may personalize the experience. At times, we blame ourselves for conditions that are out of our control. We may say things like, “this is all my fault.” This type of thinking can exacerbate feelings of sadness and grief. Though it is important to maintain personal accountability, this doesn’t mean that when bad things happen we should automatically blame ourselves.

Remember: Hardships aren’t entirely your fault. Not everything that happens to us is because of us.

Pervasiveness: This is the belief that a challenge/setback/problem we encounter will affect every aspect of our life. When we “globalize” our problems, we think everything is awful because one thing is awful. For instance, if you have a fight with a friend, that doesn’t mean that you are a terrible person and no one likes you. You can suffer a significant setback in one area and still thrive in another area. When we are able to see problems as “specific” instead of “global,” we can function better as a whole.

Remember: One problem doesn’t affect every aspect of your life.

Permanence: When you are in the midst of a crisis and something bad is happening, it sometimes feels like nothing will ever change and you will never feel better.

Remember: You should honor your feelings, but also acknowledge that your problems will not follow you everywhere, forever.

In their book Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Knopf, New York, 2017) share that hundreds of studies show that if you are able to recognize that negative events are not personal, pervasive and permanent you will be better able to rebound.

Social Resilience:

Join a club! Adelphi’s Center for Student and Community Engagement offers students opportunities for clubs, activities, social events and community and religious groups. Watch a funny movie or TV show with a friend. Fredrickson (2017) explained that sharing a laugh with a friend can have a positive effect on your mental health.

Volunteer. Helping other people has a clear positive effect on our own mental health. For more information on how you can get involved, check out CSI’s Volunteering and Community Service page.

Physical Resilience:

Join the Gym! Adelphi’s Fitness Center offers FREE membership to students and FREE personal training sessions.

Take a walk. Adelphi’s campus is an award-winning arboretum (botanical garden). There are over 60 species of flora to explore on this 75 acre campus. There is always something beautiful to see on campus, even in winter!

Take care of your health. Adelphi’s Student Health Service Center provides AU students with access to quality healthcare.

Get out and play! Adelphi offers a number of intramural sports teams. Being part of a group boosts resiliency.

Emotional Resilience:

There are many ways to boost your emotional resilience. Working with a therapist, like those at the Adelphi Student Counseling Center, can help you gain insight into your emotions, and overcome the obstacles you may be facing.

For ideas on how to improve and maintain your physical and mental health, check out the Adelphi Health and Wellness newsletter.

Mental Resilience:

Train your brain. Check out a new book from Swirbul Library. Reading has been shown to make people feel happier and more empathetic.

Your classes are sure to keep your mind intellectually engaged, and sometimes, you might need some support. There are a wide variety of services available on campus to help you stay on track.

Plan for the future. Adelphi’s Career Services office offers a number of invaluable resources for your job search.

When something bad happens, it can be easy to think of it as “just the way it is,” rather than an opportunity for growth. Many people think their intelligence, their talents and abilities are natural and can’t change.

Fixed mindset is a pattern of thinking where we view ourselves as “carved in stone” and powerless to change. A fixed mindset way of thinking sees failure as permanent, and problems as unsolvable. It sees talent and intelligence as innate. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Growth mindset encourages us to see ourselves as always being a work in progress. Challenges become opportunities to grow, learn and develop. A growth mindset pattern of thinking experiences failure as temporary, criticism as a guide for growth, and problems as opportunities.

For example: When J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter she was living on government benefits, recently divorced, raising a child on her own and had no money. Because she couldn’t afford a computer she wrote her first book Harry Potter on a manual typewriter.

Twelve publishers rejected the manuscript!

What if she stopped at the first rejection? The fifth? Or the 10th?

Through all of this, Rowling many times believed she wouldn’t be able to make it — but she chose to keep going, and in the end, she learned to cherish her failures, stating, “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.”

“Self-compassion comes from recognizing that our imperfections are part of being human. Those who can tap into it recover from hardship faster.” (Sandberg & Grant, 2017 p. 60).

Fixed Mindset:

This is as good as it’s going to get.

This is just too difficult.

I made another mistake.

This will get me a passing grade.

I’m not good at this topic.

Growth Mindset:

There’s room to improve with the right approach.

Time to try some new strategies.

This is another opportunity to learn and grow.

I can add more to this answer.

I’m not good at this topic yet.

7 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

  1. View challenges as opportunities for growth.
  2. Join a new club.
  3. Don’t insist on perfection all the time. Allow yourself to be “good enough.”
  4. Try a new way of learning an old subject. College is a time to learn how to learn. Use academic support services.
  5. Embrace imperfection. Pobodies nerfect!
  6. When you feel stuck use the SMART Method breaking tasks into “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Agreed-Upon, Realistic, and Time-Based.”
  7. Add the word “yet” to the end of negative sentences. “I can’t do it yet.” “I can’t get over this just yet.”
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